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  1. I find it disheartening that people are able to find these sites to complain about their cruise but they can’t find them before they cruise to research and find information that would help them enjoy their cruise.
    22 points
  2. We just returned from Adventure of the Seas on Saturday, August 27, 2022. We have discussed our trip and both agree salt air makes clothing shrink! Bill
    18 points
  3. I have started one of my bucket list type of vacations. This morning I left Fresno California in a one way rental car. I drove 4 hours to the Los Angeles Airport. Now I am doing my 6 hour wait for my flight. I will be flying to Prague in the Czech Republic. From there I will be taking a train to Copenhagen Denmark. After a couple of days there I will be getting on the Voyager of the Seas for a Trans-Atlantic Artic Cruise. If this sounds interesting stay tuned for the details and pictures. Mike
    18 points
  4. Day 7: Our last day is a day at sea We slept in today, okay I slept in today, my wife woke up early to sunbathe on our balcony. Once I woke up, we hung out together in the room. We were on the balcony, but it started to rain. This was the first rain I noticed since we embarked on this ship. We hung out in the room together for awhile and then headed to park cafe for breakfast before they closed. Ran into our family in Central Park. My brother and I wore our drunk 1 and drunk 2 shirts today (picture below). It’s not fair being the little brother because no matter how old I am, I’ll always be drunk 2 and when playing Super Mario Brothers, I’ll always be Luigi. We received a lot of positive reactions on our shirts, especially from our bartenders. My wife, brother, and sister in law rode the Ultimate Abyss and I was the holder of the phones and sunglasses. I beat them to the bottom and the elevator wasn’t too scary and was faster. The rest of our family just happened to be at Johnny Rockets where the Ultimate Abyss let out. We had more drinks because it would be false advertising if we we’re to wear drunk 1 and drunk 2 shirts and not drink. Lunch was at the windjammer followed by a trip to the room to pack our bags. The suitcases feel a little heavy for the plane, but there is no way to weigh them, I guess worse case scenario, if we have to take anything out of our suitcases at the airport, my dirty knickers are staying behind in Florida. It was our final dinner in the main dining room. Our waiter and assistant waiter have two large tables to serve. The other table was not there tonight so we received all the attention. Not that we don’t get most of the attention. Like I said before our waiter and assistant waiter really like my brother. I think our assistant waiter has a man crush on him. We stopped by my sister and brother-in-law’s room to pick up their device that weighs suitcases when you pick them up. 49 pounds and 46 pounds, we made it under the weight limit, I guess my soiled skivvies are safe…for now. I picked up a cold brew at cafe promenade and returned to my room where we watched a spectacular lightening show in the distance. At 9:00 pm was miniature golf, then the adult comedy show, followed by standing on the outer deck on top of the ship to see if we could see the SpaceX satellite rocket launch. No such luck, I guess it was too cloudy. Next is disembarking and a day at the Kennedy Space Center followed by a long flight back to Sacramento California.
    17 points
  5. I’d like to think this is the last time we have to jump through this particular hoop to board a ship, but we’re cruising to Canada in October. ….but for now….We’re all negative for our Sunday cruise!! (I figure people here will get it. No one at my work seems to understand why I’m so happy)
    16 points
  6. Well we finally turned Diamond. Just awarded the points from our Oasis cruise from last week. Booked at the right time and received double points for our short Adventure 4 day cruise, 8 points and double for Oasis 7 day cruise, 22 points in those cruises because they were running a promotion. Anyway we really wanted to hit Diamond because that's really where some of the good perks hit. The 4 drinks a day for both of us will be very nice. Diamond club is a pretty cool perk. Really looking forward to our Oasis cruise in May now, our first as Diamond. What are some other cool perks for Diamond? What are some sneaky cool ones that you can think of? Maybe some under the radar?
    16 points
  7. If you're properly camouflaged, how can they even tell you are there?
    15 points
  8. We turned Diamond during our British Isles trip 8/19-8/31 on the Jewel. I just looked and it is posted and official. Now I have to wait 409 days until my next cruise!
    15 points
  9. Sorry I missed posting this last night. Day 5: St. Kitts, the dolphin experience We started with breakfast in the main dining room, we set an alarm and everything. I loved the classic Benedict, I’m a sucker for hollandaise sauce, a hash brown, and the corned beef hash. The hash brown was small, and I could’ve eaten 13 dishes of the corned beef hash, it was that good. Next was St. Kitts. My wife brought cash and her iPhone. I figured since we didn’t have service in St. Kitts, there was no use in bringing my phone. Remember the last part because it is on the test later. We split from our group and went on our dolphin excursion. As we were waiting, we went shopping at the shops. The workers in the shops were a little pushy, but not overly aggressive. We got souvenirs for the grandkids and some of our kids, but only the ones we like. I’m just kidding, we love all three of our children, but one son wants something from the Kennedy Space Center, so we are holding off on getting his gift until Sunday. My other son, wants an island girl. After shopping we got into line for our excursion. We were early, we just didn’t know how early we were. While in line we figured we were in the 10:30 am excursion line and ours was at 11:15. The excursion person said he could get us on the earlier excursion and put a green wrist band on both my wife and myself. This too is important to remember for later. On the bus I noticed some people were wearing different colored wristbands, but being the introvert, I didn’t ask, which I should’ve. When we arrived, we put our stuff in a complimentary locker, which was an ease on my mind and it was then time to get fitted for life jackets. The man brought me a large one, how cute is that. He soon realized I needed an extra large one. After instructions, we were in the water with the dolphins. One of the most exciting things in my life. We did commands, petted, gave belly rubs, shook fins, and touched the dolphins, and it was fantastic, my wife loved it too, but was a little disappointed because we were supposed to be pushed and pulled by the dolphins. I grappled with removing my life jacket, and for a split second, I thought I might win, but winning was not in the cards for me, but luckily, one of the workers tapped in like a WWE tag team partner and we were victorious. My wife was already off to inquire about the pushing and pulling. When I caught up with my wife the employee said the person at the dock put the wrong wristbands on us, if only someone spoke up on the bus, stupid introverted me. They accommodated us by allowing me to struggle back into a life jacket and took us back into the water just my wife and I. They kind of separated my wife and myself, which is a little problem because I have severe hearing loss and couldn’t take my hearing aids in the water with me and I rely on her a lot to communicate with me. If you are following along with my live blog you have found out I’m super sized, have hearing loss, and sleep with a CPap machine, you are probably wondering how my wife snagged such a catch, she probably wonders too. We had a quick push and pull by the dolphins and then it was shower off, get dressed, and off to the gift shop to buy photos. We realized we forgot our debit card, we didn’t have enough cash for photos at $40 a piece, but they did take PayPal. I have PayPal but my wife doesn’t. My wife had her phone, I didn’t. They were pushy when it came to selling the photosand I asked if it were possible to get a link and buy them when we get back to the ship. Their response was now or never. I tried for about forty minutes to log into my email on my wife’s phone to buy the photo package which was 2 for $80 or all forty-five photos for 100. Because my iPhone uses Face ID to log in and I’m not very smart ( my wife is so lucky to have me), I finally gave up and lo and behold, they suddenly came up with a link to buy the photos when we got back to the ship, but they were quite rude to us about it. I know I seem to complain from time to time, but really we are having the time of our lives and will never forget what a great time we are having. Back on the ship I ordered our photos and after several emails back and forth, we got the link to the photos a few hours later. The photos are great, but we are only able to get 42% of the photos to download on our phones before we get an error message. The link is only good for a month so we will need to figure it out. Back on the ship was dinner at the main dinning room. Our waiters are the best on the ship. Unlike me, my brother is a big personality and both our waiters are drawn to him for most of our meals. I ordered the ahi tuna, but since I don’t like my fish seared, our waiter had it made well done. I know the chef probably cried himself to sleep last night because he had to cook it well done, but it tasted wonderful. After dinner was the headliner show, a singer, comedian, and impressionist. His voices of other people were spot on, but the show was mostly geared toward gen X and baby boomers. My nephew and niece knew almost none of the people he was impersonating. Then it was off to sabor for margaritas and off to bed. Stray observation: Our room steward is amazing. I have a bartender who not only remembers my drink order, but also my name which is cool because I’m pretty forgettable. In the public men’s rooms, I like the comic strip panels over the urinals even though they are lacking in plot, character development, and a character arc. Next up is sea day two. We have three sea days this week.
    15 points
  10. I’m still not quite sure about how good I’ll be at this, but I figure I’ll give it a shot. I’m neither a writer nor especially witty, but I thought our experiences may be of help to someone who is coming to Galveston for a cruise for the first time (like us). On that note, thank you @Galveston Stevefor your thread about Galveston. Please forgive any spelling, grammar, tenses, or other mistakes. I may ramble, too. I’m more of an in-person communicator, so I have no problems with constructive criticism. My cameras are an iPhone 12 and an iPad Mini. I’m not a photographer, so my apologies in advance. Background: My wife and I originally booked this cruise in January 2020 while at Next Cruise on Adventure. We booked it as wedding present for my stepson and his fiancé who were getting married in July 2021 on the 10th anniversary of their first date. Because of Covid, everything got pushed to 2022. A huge thank you to @michelle for rescheduling everything for us. (Edited to add..another thank you to Michelle for helping us upgrade from Interior cabins to Balconies). On the surface, it may seem weird that parents are going on a honeymoon cruise with their son and new wife. However, they are both on the autism spectrum. High functioning to be sure, but a trip from Maine to Galveston, then boarding a cruise ship is more than they feel comfortable navigating on their own. Our original plan was to fly into Houston’s Hobby Airport the day before and spend one night in Galveston. After some cancellations and changes of our flights by American, as well as all the uncertainties with flying nowadays, we decided to fly in two days early. After a few calls to American, we decided to fly into George Bush International rather than Hobby in order to have one layover and arrive in Houston early in the afternoon. We are still departing for home from Hobby on September 4th. Day 1 (Friday 8/26): We departed Portland, ME on time at 6 am and arrived in Philadelphia at 730. Our connecting flight was delayed by 30 minutes, so we had plenty of time to walk from terminal B to terminal C. On a side note, this was the first time we’ve connected in Philadelphia and not had to run from terminal F to terminal A or B. It was nice. Our flight from Philadelphia to IAH left promptly at its rescheduled time. Interestingly enough, we touched down in Houston one minute earlier than the original arrival time (1218 pm). We booked a shuttle to our hotel in Galveston through Galveston Express. The meeting place is right outside Terminal A at IAH….literally a stone’s throw from the baggage claim we were assigned. The Galveston Express driver (Ernest) texted us to let us know he arrived. He was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van that was very clean, and the a/c worked fine. We made a stop at Hobby to pick up another couple then we were dropped off at our hotel. Obviously we only have this one experience with Galveston Express, but based on it, we’d use them again. I’ll follow up with our experience on the trip from Galveston to Hobby. The cost for four adults from IAH to Galveston was $140 and the cost from Galveston to Hobby is $120. Travel time from IAH to our hotel was about an hour and a half. There was some construction outside of Hobby that snarled up traffic for a bit. I’m not a good passenger, but I had no issues with Ernest’s driving. We felt safe at all times. We are staying at Springhill Suites on Galveston Island. We booked here because we could pay partially with Marriott points. It’s located on the right shortly after you come on the island. The hotel is clean, modern, and the staff is very pleasant. Our room has the typical sleeping area and sitting area we’ve seen in hotels in the $200-$300 range. We have a small balcony with a couple chairs, but so far it’s been too hot and humid for our northern New England blood to sit out there. It was very quiet last night, which is a change from staying in hotels near the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports. After a dinner of delivery pizza, we fell asleep early. Day 2 (Saturday 8/27): Breakfast is included and is what we’ve come to expect from complementary breakfasts. There are typical offerings…scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, etc. Our plans for today are to run to Target (across the highway from the hotel) then explore Galveston a bit. This is the view from our hotel balcony. We look out to the southwest, so if we wouldn’t have fallen asleep so early, the sunset would have been nice.
    14 points
  11. I consider one of the types of biggest cruise mistakes to avoid is any action that results in you having a stay in the special Royal Caribbean accommodation called the Brig.
    13 points
  12. They don't deploy local firefighters to ships during a helicopter evacuation. The ship has fire fighting equipment and the full fire fighting suits with air supply for battling fires on board. It's standard procedure to deploy the ship fire team when a helicopter evacuation is occurring. That is in case the helicopter crashes or static discharge from the whirling blades causes a fire. Fire on a ship is the worst possible emergency. They have everything on board staged in strategic areas to be ready for the worst possible outcome. They always suit up for helicopter evacs.
    13 points
  13. SMOKEY0202

    website issue

    Wouldn't it be great when we can all finally log into Cruise Planner, the infamous Royal IT did the perfect surprise of another $18 drink package or something similar....
    12 points
  14. Voila! https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/09/13/how-get-royal-caribbeans-cruise-terminals-and-how-much-parking-will-cost
    12 points
  15. mills10

    Manners

    I don't know who told my daughter this but she just told my son this. "Did you know on a cruise if you don't use good manners your food isn't free?" Hahaha definitely going to run with that when we go on our first cruise next summer!
    12 points
  16. I’m working on explaining to Jay the difference between singular and plural. As in “shot” vs “shots.” Glad I’m not driving this week. And Putu and Benjamin are very good at the animals!
    12 points
  17. My Pre-Trip Fun ☹ My adventure really started two days ago. I had a mini vacation as a warmup. I drive a passenger van full of High School Water Polo players to the California coast to play in a tournament. When I should have been home packing and planning, I was on the coast taking care of teenage boys. On Saturday afternoon we finished and I came back home as quick as possible to start figuring what I needed to pack. I got back, turned in my van for my car and then had my son take me to the airport to get a one way rental car. I finally got back home at 8:30 pm and figured out I needed to do laundry to have cloths for my trip. I got on my computer and started to double check paperwork and ……. THE POWER WENT OUT OK, wet clothes in the dryer, nothing packed and no packing list or documents printed. I gave up and went to sleep. About 4 hours later my 25-year-old son woke me up to let me know electricity was back on. Ok on to laundry and packing. I got to my dress pants and …. They were still at the Dry Cleaners. So I looked for my work pants and …… they were also at the Dry Cleaners. Well …. After trying on everything in both my closet and my sons closet I found a pair of dockers that will have to do. I finally got everything packed and got a few hours sleep. I left the house at 8:30 am to give myself time in case something happened during the 250 mile drive to the LA Airport. Now guess what happened….. everything went smoothly and now I am sitting in the airport for 6 hours waiting for my flight.
    12 points
  18. Funny, that's my condition on every cruise I sail on.
    11 points
  19. One last thing I want to leave you with. The only real issue I had on the trip was I got real tired of hearing people complain. Our cruise has over 300 Pinnacle cruisers and the most of the rest was Diamond and Diamond plus. The ship had a couple of meetings with the staff warning them how picky the cruisers on this cruise were going to be. Most of the people on the cruise were great but there was enough that were not that you got tired of hearing it. I was told that the ship had to leave about 350 staff in Copenhagen because the USA would not give them a work visa. All the ships are short staffed to start with. All the staff was working their hardest to make a great cruise for us. I seen the glass half full and appreciate everything they did. Please, going forward do not be the glass half empty person and only see what you did not get on your cruise. Thank you for following, Mike
    11 points
  20. Shady? That is a pretty extreme statement. Besides they have a near All Inclusive rate. It's called Star Class. Ultimately it may very well be all about money. That's perfectly okay. They are a for-profit business. It's up to them to create a product portfolio that accomplishes their primary goal of bringing value to their stockholders. They are pretty popular and their product is in high demand with a loyal following. They are doing most things right. Bundling "free" (not free) packages like NCL does is a lot closer to being shady. Both Celebrity and Princess cater to a different demographic that doesn't tend to include binge drinkers. They can offer bundles because they will be profitable with their bundles knowing most of their cruisers won't tend to overindulge. Sure they may be a handful that will drink the cruise line under the profit line but most of their guests are not costing them money with bundles. I think Princess added bundles because Celebrity went always included. Celebrity did stumble a bit and had to retrofit unbundled fares back into the game plan when the Always In proved to miss the mark a little bit. For many years Royal has enjoyed higher revenue per passenger using a smaller fleet compared to the 800 pound gorilla of the industry. They accomplish this by being smarter than the 800 pound gorilla. The question then becomes why doesn't the 800 pound gorilla realize they are leaving money on the table? Royal has spent a lot of time with very smart people data mining sales trends and they know exactly how to push pricing to maximize revenue. That's business smarts.
    11 points
  21. Yes, it's called Star Class
    11 points
  22. This awesome cake arrived last night at dinner. Jay strikes again! Today I went down to thank the young lady who made it. I met Lusi last October. She works in the ice cream shop on the boardwalk. If you sail the Allure please go meet her. Even if you don’t like ice cream and cupcakes make you nauseous it’s with the trio just to meet Lusi! She has a bubbling personality and an infectious laugh!
    11 points
  23. tonyfsu21

    Freedom at last

    I think we were the first 4 passengers onboard! The fun has started…
    11 points
  24. We flew into Newark, NJ Airport on Wednesday August 17th and spend the night at the Springhill Inn Suites Airport. We had an Uber from the hotel to the ship for twenty dollars to the luggage drop-off point. We had a short walk to the terminal building to begin the checkin process. Our checkin time was 11:00 A.M., our arrival time was 10:30 A.M. We were directed directed to the Suites Guests line and then to a processor. After greetings I handed the processor our passports which contained:Set Sail Pass, Bermuda Health Certification, Covid Vaccination card, Covid Test Results from Emed for each of us. We were on the ship by 10:45 A.M. boarding on deck 4 which was only 100 feet from B5 Muster Station which we went to for checkin and orientation. We were in the ship with all checkins taken care of at 10:50 A.M.! We went to our cabin retrieved our pass cards and dropped off our carry ons and we were off for the obligatory Windjammer first day lunch. Much to our delight the Windjammer was almost empty, we had a great lunch and were off to see the ship. We found the ship to clean and well maintained with a friendly staff and crew. We had MTD, Three Specialty Dinner Package and one dinner at Johnny Rockets. The horror stories being reported about MTD are way to Positive! This was my seventieth cruise on RCCL and only one other time have I have witnessed a more disruptive, disorganized and possibly violent event a ship. The line for the dinning room wrapped all the way around the elevators on both sides of the dinning room. The first night there were no signs for those with Reservations and those without making for one large group of hungry people looking to be seated. Unfortunately the large group of hungry people soon turned into a large group of angry hungry people. Not a pleasant beginning for an enjoyable dinning experience. This mayhem got slightly better with signs for Reservations and No Reservation lines. We spoke with the Hotel Manager Francois and the Resturant Manager. To their credit they offered no excuses and said improvements were coming and were planned to start on the next cruise. MTD is the only negative comments we have about our entire cruise. Disembarkation was one of the most orderly and well conducted we have ever witnessed. Luggage tag areas were well marked and sorted with plenty of porters to give assistance. Cape Liberty is equipped with Facial Recognition which made Customs a walk-through. We went outside to the Taxi area loaded our luggage and was on the way to the airport by 8:45 A.M. Since we had a late flight we caught the train and went to visit the World Trade Center Memorial which we highly recommend. I will write more over the next couple of days about excursions, hints and tips. The attached photo is a view from our cabin. Bill
    11 points
  25. If we keep our noses clean until Wednesday our little band of misfits will be headed to Suite 1740, The Royal Loft on Allure this Saturday - the very place this Star Class nonsense began! Four years ago we sailed in this suite and experienced Star Class for the first time. I truly believe they put something in the endless parade of snacks and drinks that attacks whatever lobe of the brain might contain common sense. Because from that time forward our cruise planning goes something like this: “ Look, we can snag a great balcony room on an Oasis Class for a week for under $2500! Nah, let’s go ahead and fork out the $1.2 mil for the Royal Loft so we get free laundry!!” It’s a disease. And I’m not sure there’s a cure. This trip will be our core group of regulars: my bride Stacy who will be celebrating the end of 30 years of service as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, daughter Taylor who will be celebrating birthday #23 and the end of her preschool teaching career, and daughter Kaitlyn who will be celebrating introducing her boyfriend to cruising Star Class. I think in last years blog from this same room I referred to her “new boyfriend” who didn’t make that trip. Now he’s THE boyfriend who will be joining us. Welcome aboard Victor! Rounding out the group is yours truly, Jim, who will be celebrating still waking up each morning! It’s important to note, as I’m sure I’ll refer to it later, that it was very doubtful that this cruise would actually take place. We booked it over a year and a half ago. Then in April of this year the one formerly known as Nurse Ratchet hatched the brilliant idea to buy a local market and convert it into a restaurant. So, with a partner, we purchased the property and the dream to build Just a Small Town Grill (thanks Journey) began. It was at that point we accepted the probability that opening a new restaurant and taking a cruise around the same time probably wouldn’t happen. We have spent nearly 5 months planning to cancel this one. But thanks to County Building officials it now appears that we can squeeze this one in while we wait for them to waddle through the governmental red tape and approve a Land Use Permit. I gripe daily about the hoops they are making us jump through but inside I’m a little grateful for their incompetence and other nonsense! I’ll write more tomorrow about our plans, travel, Genie Jay and other details. Hope you all come along for the ride!
    10 points
  26. That’s an understatement! @CravingaCruise, in my email to Jay before the trip i just said that it’s not the the things we might ask for that make the experience amazing, but it’s the unexpected surprises. He certainly did not disappoint! I just posted this morning that I had problems on board with my IPad so will finish my “Live Blog” as a review now that I’m home. But I’ll share this to give you an idea of his creativity. MO5AIC was our headliner show. I saw them 5 years ago on the Oasis. Our family saw their first show on night 2 and then I returned for the late show. Jay and I both think they are an amazingly talented group. On night 7 we had dinner planned in the suite. When Jay arrived with the food I asked him if he was feeding all of deck 17?? Then the doorbell rings and MO5AIC arrives for dinner. Later Jay said he just felt the group and our family would be a good match for the evening. We had a long wonderful dinner filled with stories and great laughs. And then, armed with drinks, they joked, laughed and performed in the suite for over two hours, including singing Happy Birthday to our youngest and Don’t Stop Believing for Stacy and her new restaurant. It was an amazing night of fun because Jay thought we were a good match. You’re in good hands, trust me.
    10 points
  27. All, As a first timer cruiser I thought I would add my views / advice for newbies as there was some stuff which I didn't get or things I didn't expect. These are my views and I'm sure others will have different views so please don't judge me! We travelled as family on the 18th Aug on Adventure I'll start with the bad stuff: Chair Hogs - just annoying. I rise early and I saw people at 7am just laying towels and not returning for hours. Just felt this was a little rude to others Lack of time in some ports - we had just a couple of hours in San Juan and felt we could do with a little more time. I get that we booked this and should have understood but as a family we like to explore and felt we didn't or couldn't as we needed to get back on board. Windjammer - Breakfast was just a free for all and was busy all the time. Getting a seat was a pain and we would walk around to get a table, Food - For me, the waste is incredible, people just stacking plates and plates full of food as if it's it never going to be served again. I saw one kid with a plate of 10 donuts, I just hope he was sharing them as it was just crazy. I also felt guilty when we arrived in Haiti as we are sitting there having pancakes and bacon looking at one of the poorest countries - just me being a little globally conscious. Kids Clubs - The Opitx or the younger one neither looked very inviting. The staff weren't engaging and it looked very dated. The teenage one just looked like a free for all and my 12 year old was not really comfortable with it, I do think 12 to 17 is kind of an aged gap. The staff were the most uphelpful on the boat but quite some way! Sea Days - I've said we like to explore - we had a 4 sea days and I felt that was too many for us as family. I did think that the sea days would be a great chance to relax but we felt a little bored and a bit trapped - strange really as there was stuff going on but we either didn't make it or didn't want to leave our pool beds! Activities - A lot of the activities seem to last just 45 mins and by the time you get in to what is happening it then ends. This was a little odd but assuming you get used to it. Beer Choice - just me I suspect on this one but it's just the standard beers and I like IPAs or something different and the only place I could this in the pub but then I would miss out on some other activity somewhere else whilst getting a beer. Dress Code - just pointless. I saw people on Dress to Impress in shorts and flip flops. Either have it or don't..... Wifi - Don't bother! Slow and drops out. Leave your phone in the safe with flight mode on. The Good Stuff: Food and Service – just excellent. The Main Dining room was excellent with a great range of foods with our servers (Glen and Hubert) being just amazing. The food in the Windjammer was also very good indeed. You won’t go hungry and if you do then you have something wrong with you. Lots to do – there was loads on with some activities over lapping making it hard to do everything you want. My advice is scan the QR code for the planner as the apps isn’t as good. Relaxing – At times I did nothing. And that’s great as I have a very full life so anytime I get to sit and read a book is time well spent. Sea Ports – Although I did think we could spend a little more time in certain ports, I do also think it’s a good chance to see ports and countries you wouldn’t go back to for a week’s holiday. Bed – I’ve never slept so well. Every night I was out like a light and slept so heavy. It was either the motion of the boat or the just because I was very relaxed. Safe – I felt with safe on the boat, not just with covid but with other passengers. My kids (9 and 12) felt ok walking around on their own and liked the adventure of exploring the ship. Drinks – Although I think it’s expensive, the drink package was excellent and saved so much effort when we went to the bars. Nothing was too much trouble for the bar staff and would make any drink you asked for. Service again, tops! Flow Rider – loads of fun and well worth trying! Labadee –Some people have concerns around Labadee with it being a little older than CoCo Cay but I thought it was excellent, the beach was in very clean, the food was very good. The kids loved it and so did I. The local market is a little pushy but not too bad. Balcony Cabin – we stayed in 9622 which was a spacious balcony on a hump (I think that’s the term). Very clean, good size for 4 of us to sleep. The Stateroom attendant was excellent and I loved that he put the sofa bed up and down at night. The only issue was the shower went hot and cold at times but not really an issue. Formal Night – This was great as most people dressed up (apart from the swim wear and flip flops!) and the Dress to Impress night seemed more dressy than formal night. I think it’s night to dress up and sit as family and enjoy a good meal. The Staff / Crew – they make it. I don’t have a bad word to say about the crew, each one had a smile on their face and was willing to help all the time even when they are very busy. The main dining room staff were amazing with nothing being too much trouble. I would say that I will cruise again but I will research more on the ports and the sea days so we aren’t all at sea as a family! Royal, I thought as a company seemed to be excellent and I would consider booking again in t future but I do thing that I might need to try another cruise company to compare as others on the cruise did say that P&O and Carnival were better. If you haven’t cruised before, like me, try it, it’s great but accept that it's a flying visit to ports on what is a five star Vegas type floating hotel.
    10 points
  28. Royal Caribbean International announced that the company has hired 10,000 new crew members since the start of this year, who have already joined the cruise ships in operation. As of September 2022, RCI reported that there is a total of 34,819 crew aboard its 26 cruise ships, meaning that each 3rd crew member is a newly hired employee. In order to fill up many shipboard positions due to crew shortages, Royal Caribbean International initiated a recruitment world tour this year. Recruitment was also advertised in the crew areas on its ships calling up the crew to spread out the word to all friends and family who are interested to apply for the job openings. It was not an easy task to pull out this extraordinary challenge and recruit so many professionals around the world. All hands were on deck from the company’s leadership to the onboard management, recruiting partners and online applications. The recruitment dive in April saw thousands of new recruits hired by the company. Back then RCI send its top managers to: • The Balkans attended by Amadeo Fusco Traveling F&B Director • South Africa attended by Catharina Maritz - Traveling F&B Director • St Lucia attended by Naomi Celaire - Manager Hotel Operations • Mexico City, Mexico - attended by Andrew Trabosh, Director Operational Excellence • Mauritius - attended by Dominique Gamba, Fleet Director Restaurant Operations • Mumbai, India – attended by Linken Dsouza, VP Food & Beverage In May RCI announced that the company has hired 600 crew at the recruiting fair in Gambia attended by Andrea Chessa, Recruiting Manager, Bulk & Hiring Partners Shipboard at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. In June Barbados Tourism Marketing in partnership with the Royal Caribbean Group hosted a three-day national recruitment drive in Barbados, which gathered about 500 people interested to join the cruise industry. In July over 600 Trinidad and Tobago nationals took to the seas for the first time as employees of Royal Caribbean. Just over a month since thousands flocked to Royal Caribbean's recruitment drives in Trinidad and Tobago, the cruise line has confirmed that 602 candidates have been hired so far. Hiring new crews is just the first step in the process, however once aboard they needed to be trained in order to get familiar with the brand standards, policies and procedures. This process was achieved with programs designed by RCI as well as the guidance of the ship's middle management and seasoned crew members. The teams make sure every new crew member feels valued, welcomed, and receives the guidance and training they need to succeed.
    10 points
  29. Solo is the way to cruise. You are in full control of your vacation. On a cruise ship you are only alone when you want to be.
    10 points
  30. I think there are basically 2 "pools" of people who are regular cruisers: 1. Those that want to get in for the lowest possible cost 2. Those that want the convenience of having everything taken care of for them Of course, there are subgroups that are combinations of these 2 but for all practical purposes, these are the 2 prevailing high level concepts. Personally, I think Royal has done a very good job of catering to both groups. I happen to be in Group #2 so I thoroughly enjoy Star Class and all of its inclusions even if I know, going in, that this is not going to be the most cost-effective option. It's not about "getting my money's worth" to me. For me, it's about paying for an experience where I am not worrying about what I need to "add on". It's all there already. For those who want the lowest cost, there are options there for them. They can get a reasonable rate and then add whatever "extras" they want. Where I think Royal has missed the boat (pun intended) is that they have failed to expand their "all inclusive" option to all of the other ships. I fully realize that the other ship classes can never accommodate a suites restaurant and that this is one major hurdle but they could certainly adjust their AI product to compensate for that. Everything else is already in place !
    10 points
  31. For those wondering how the air conditioning works in this room, this is Taylor during afternoon nap. The AC works like a champ
    10 points
  32. I’ve been trying to catch up here a bit but interject has been wonky today while in Aruba. IPAD won’t connect at all. Just know that there have been several more deliver of food to the room since the last update.
    10 points
  33. FoxboroCruiser

    Coco Cay 1994

    Doing some cleaning (found some boxes that haven’t been opened in 20 years) and came across this! Our honeymoon cruise on Majesty went Miami, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Coco Cay!
    10 points
  34. wordell1

    Cruise Mistakes

    Don't overschedule. There is so much to do that you can drive yourself crazy trying to do it all.
    10 points
  35. @CravingaCruiseher’s a couple more cakes from last night’s celebration of Taylor’s birthday. Panda I’m sure made by Lusi and a towel cake from Putu!
    10 points
  36. Day one - boarding day Saturday night I could not go to sleep. I ended up going to sleep at 6:30 AM and I had to be in the lobby of the hotel by 11:00 AM. The nice thing is while I couldn't sleep, I repacked everything and I was ready to head out the door. When I got down to the lobby, I found something that was strange compared to what we have in the United states. We had to check out of the hotel. For years in the United states you give them a credit card when you check in and you just leave when you're done. At this hotel we had to stand in line and then we had to pull out our credit card and pay for the items charged to our room. After we were done with that process, we walked out outside the hotel doors and got in line for the shuttle out in front of the hotel. There was a very large crowd and they couldn't fit in the next bus that came so there was about 15 of us waiting for the next bus. Right before the bus came some people came walking up and asking us if that was the free bus to the cruise ship; we told them yes. When the bus came on up, they started getting on the bus in front of us. I nicely pointed out that there was a bunch of us that had been waiting a very long time and they thought I was being rude. At the port it went extremely fast and smooth except for one item. We got in line to turn our bags in and they wouldn't take them; they said it was full. How can it be full? Just line them up outside until there's room to put them on the conveyor. I don't understand what they were thinking. Instead they had us get in another line to go to a different conveyor. The bad thing is if you weren't checking any bags they were pulling people out of line and moving them in front of us which made our line even longer. After we got through the check-in bag fiasco, we went through a security scan and then straight up to the person checking us in. For me she checked my passport, my covid test and scanned my boarding pass. I heard it was slightly different for other people but it was just very fast. After you were done there we just walked on the ship was ready to go. As always, the first thing I did on the ship was to go to chops and set all my dinner reservations. I am traveling alone and solo but I have a friend that I've cruised with a couple of times on this ship. I ended up booking reservations for me, her and a friend of hers that's traveling with her. All three of us have unlimited dining so I set specialty restaurants for the entire cruise. If I was just setting them for me I would be having dinner at 6:00 o'clock every evening. If my friend Corey Joe was travel alone she would be setting her dinner at 8:00 o'clock every evening. So as a compromise we tried to get as close as we could to 7:00 o'clock. Since we were at chops and had unlimited dining we ended up having lunch there. I ordered the chops hamburger without the bun. It was an excellent choice, a very good hamburger Patty. You would think I could relax after that until the ship sailed away: not. After that we had to go to my room and drop off both of our luggage because Corey Joe could not get in her room. Then we had to go do my mustard drill which is on one end of the ship, then hers which was on the opposite end of the ship. We had a meet up with her roommate and then go to customer service because they did not print Cory Joe's ticket because her roommate had been in the same room the week before. If you join in somebody that did a back-to-back be ready to have problems with your room keys. After that I had just enough time to go to my room freshen up and then get to a meeting at 3:30 with the group coordinator and the bar manager. I was afraid the bar manager was going to tell me where you were not going to be able to do the poker pub crawl because my group it's over 120 people and there's no way to fit that in a bar. To my surprise he was the complete opposite; he had really thought about it and had a plan for us to be able to move the people through. He was simply fantastic to work with. As soon as this meeting was over it was time for the sell away party. Our Facebook / Cruise Critic group is almost 600 people. I think at any one time we had over 200 people at the meet and greet. I ended up spending the next two hours going from people to people answering questions, meeting people and get it thanks for everything I’ve done to organize things. The ship bar manager also came by to make sure everything was going smoothly. By the time we left the cell away is just enough time to shower and get to dinner. Tonight, we had dinner at Giovanni’s. During the dinner I talked to the manager and he told me a normal first night for them is 30 to 40 people. On our cruise it was 60 people. Our ship is only about 50 to 60% capacity but most of them are diamond, diamond plus, and pinnacle. After a very good dinner, mine was mignon, we ended up going to the casino to do a little gambling. To my surprise I was playing the penny machines and walked away $10 ahead. The last thing I did this evening was went to the show in the theater. I made it through about the first three to four minutes before falling asleep. I ended up waking up after about 15 minutes and realized the show was very boring. It was a BMX rider, a bike rider. After doing a few tricks he tried to do some comedy but in my opinion wasn’t very good at it. After realizing I couldn’t stay awake, I got some pizza and headed back to my room. I’m laying here half asleep, having computer trouble, and trying to dictate today’s information. I know if I don’t do it tonight, I’m going to have a busy day tomorrow and all the days were just blurred together, and I won’t be doing my job I volunteered to do; letting you know about my trip. Tomorrow we’re at Norway. I’ll try not to be so wordy tomorrow a little more precise of what I did and seen.
    10 points
  37. DDaley

    Greek Excursions Review

    I toured with another cruise line but booked tours on my own and we had an amazing time! Athens There is a 30€ package available that bundles several ruins/historical sites together and is of great value. Seeing the Acropolis alone is 20€ so for 10 extra bucks you can see 6 additional sites. We were able to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Acropolis and slopes, Ancient Agora and Hadrian's Library in the span of 4 hours or so. Once you are in Plaka, all of the sites are easily walkable. The Uber from the port of Piraeus to this part of Athens was around 15€ and took about 10-15 min. I recommend visiting the Acropolis right at 8am when it opens to miss the heat of the day and the majority of the crowds. As we were descending at 9am, the crush of people just entering was crazy! For restaurants, I recommend the Anafiótika Cafe Restaurant on the stairs (has a Cycladic feeling in the big city) and Strofi Athenian Restaurant (amazing Acropolis view). Also be sure to try souvlaki (kebab style) or gyros meat (shaved) from any of the hole-in-the-wall type spots, the meat was amazingly tender and tastier than any of the major restaurants we tried it at. Thessaloniki We did the hop-on hop off bus tour that circles the city and hits a bunch of important sights. The White Tower, Gallerius Arch, the Rotunda, the remaining city walls to name a few. The waterfront is easily walkable from the port and leads you straight to the White Tower. Departing from under the tower are a couple floating bar cruises I definitely recommend. They cruise the harbor in 30 min intervals and the only ticket price is buying a drink! (4€ without consumption). We took the Klio cruise bar and had a great ride. Kusadasi (Turkey) We toured Ephesus via the cruise line but I know Royal does the same as I saw RCCL lanyards/Whisper ear pieces on a ton of guests. I definitely recommend a hat and/or SPF umbrella to protect you from the unrelenting heat! There is no shade to be found at the ruins. (Thanks to @FionaMG for this idea!) Also, if you're planning to buy a guide book, buy it at the starting point on top of the ruins. Once you get to the bottom/exit and decide you want one, they are priced 5€ more than at the top! There are a couple nice seaside restaurants/bars walking distance from the port. Everything is priced pretty cheaply. Try an Efes beer, made in Turkey and my favorite of all the Greek beers we tried. Rhodes In Rhodes we toured the old town and the Citadel of Knights on our own and took a walking tour of Lindos and the Acropolis through GetYourGuide. The old town is easily walkable from the port and has lots of shops and restaurants. There is also a small beach right by the port and a nicer beach about a 20 min walk away. Lindos is about a 50 minute ride from port but the Acropolis view was worth it! You have to walk up about 300 steps from the town and maneuver along a winding path with no handrails. Heraklion (Crete) We toured the city on our own since we had a short stop from 7am-12pm and skipped visiting Knossos. The city was about a 20 minute walk from port and was flat to the old port with the fortress and up a slight hill to see all the shops and the historical Bembo and Morosini Fountains. The city is heavily influenced by Venetian architecture. Santorini We took an excursion via the cruise line to Megalochori and Oia in order to be among the first tenders from the ship. On excursions you get a bus ride up the hill from the new port and return via pre-paid ticket on the cable car to the old port. Sunset in Oia was nice but the crush of people was unreal! I recommend finding a spot at a restaurant to escape the crowds during the prettiest part. Restaurants will ask you at the door if you intend to eat, SAY YES! Even if you just order an appetizer.. if you say you just want drinks they'll lead you straight to the back tables with no views. We ate at Thalassia and had a gorgeous view, tasty wine and sampled the Moussaka (eggplant lasagna) and Keftedes (meatballs), all was amazing. Mykonos This was my favorite port stop. Our cruise line provided a free shuttle from the dock at the new port to Chora old town (Odyssey guests got to use a sea bus instead, Brilliance guests tendered right to town) and it was super easy to walk around and see the alleys, Little Venice and the windmills. We also took a tour that included a stop at Kalafatis beach and in the small central town of Ano Mera, it was worth it to get to see the countryside and all the rounded off houses/tiny trees! Wind speeds can reach 70km/h so all the buildings and landscape reflect this. If your cruise departs late, I absolutely hands down recommend a reservation at 180º Sunset Bar on the hill above the old port. The views are spectacular and it makes the minimum spend pricing worth it. If you want to try and walk in (no minimum $), be there right at 6:30p when it opens to access a spot at the bar. The place gets jumping and we could hear the music even after walking all the way back to town (easy 5 min downhill stroll, we took a taxi uphill - 20€). Milos You can easily walk around the port town but the best views are found in the town of Plaka (Plaka Castle) at the top of the hill. We did a boat tour to the pirate sea caves in Kleftiko from Agia Kiriaki beach (Zephyros Milos Tours) and it was absolutely jaw dropping! They provide masks, snorkels and noodles and you get to swim through the caves. We also had another deep blue swim at a second location. The tour provides raki shots after! We also visited Sarakiniko beach on the north side of the island, the lava flows are stark white and feel like a moonscape, definitely instagram-worthy. Chania (Crete) We took several tours while staying at a beach resort in Kolymbari, all booked via Viator. The first was a boat tour to Balos beach and Gramvousa island. We were bussed from hotels to the port at Kissimos and took the Gramvousa ship to these 2 locations. The ship had food and drinks for sale and rented beach umbrellas (5€ rental + 5€ deposit) which were absolutely necessary at both beaches since there is no available shade. At Balos, the ship docks directly onto the rocks and you wade across the lagoon to access the beach side. The lagoon is less than a foot deep all the way across and was very warm, perfect for young kids. The beach side has a very rocky coral entry so I recommend water shoes or bringing a float to cross the area "croc-style." Gramvousa is also very rocky so don't plan to lie comfortably on the sand. There is a castle on the top of the hill at Gramvousa if you crave a hot uphill hike to get a beautiful view! Our second tour was a snorkel adventure with Chania Diving. We met the tour in Marathi beach (although they offered pickup) and walked easily to the dock for our boat. The tours are very small with no more than 10 guests for snorkeling or scuba excursions, offered at the same time on separate boats. We made two stops and got to see some pretty interesting stuff at both including some debris from a sister ship to Titanic that was shipwrecked in the early 1900s. The first stop had an interesting effect in the water where 3 freshwater springs poured into the sea creating a "blurry" effect in your mask and a flipped water temperature phenomenon that had the hot water trapped below a layer of cold fresh water. We also had goat onlookers on the cliffs surrounding us! This tour provided your equipment as well as wetsuits and the mask/snorkel was the best quality I've ever encountered on a tour. The third tour was from Georgioupolis Safari and had us riding automatic ATVs across the valley from the beach to the mountains and included an exhilarating amount of pouring rain on our ride back down. The tour provided rain jackets which were much appreciated, I believe it was also supposed to stop at an olive oil farm/factory but this was skipped due to the rain. I still loved this tour as the views were incredible and I liked riding through all the tiny hillside towns you'd never get to see in a car. Let me know if anyone wants links to the exact excursions we booked, I enjoyed all of them. Here are some pics because who doesn't like those? Athens Acropolis from MS Roof Garden bar Acropolis (Parthenon) from the site Thessaloniki White Tower (AKA Blood Tower because they used to chop off heads at the top and let the blood rain down the walls!) Klio Cruise bar in Thessaloniki Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Kusadasi, Turkey (There was a brothel next door so men would tell their wives they were "heading to the library" ) Citadel of the Knights in Rhodes old town View from the Acropolis of Lindos. Rhodes Oia, Santorini, looking back towards Fira Little Venice, Mykonos 180º Sunset Bar, Mykonos Sea caves in Kleftiko, Milos Balos Beach, Crete Gramvousa Island, Crete Elafonisi Beach, Crete Snorkel stop near Marathi Beach, Crete ATVing near Georgioupolis, Crete PS, last minute Athens hotel recommendation for Coco-Mat BC... it has a roof pool with stunning Acropolis views!
    10 points
  38. I have a laser engraving/cutting machine that I use to make novelty items as gifts. This year I made one of these for each Genie currently onboard. Jay was kind enough to allow us to post a photo with his and some OLD guy that wandered by
    10 points
  39. Another question would be did the emergency response crew have to show proof of vaccine and a negative test result before being able to board
    10 points
  40. With the exception of going in the Schooner Bar for trivia and music, we don’t do those things either. We are 100% non-drinkers, but we’ve never felt out of place when participating in trivia or listening to live music while in the Schooner Bar (or any other venue). We not gamblers, so we don’t go in the casino We’ve never been on Allure, but here is a partial list of things we’ve enjoyed doing on the ships we’ve been on (from Vision up to Oasis but no Quantum Class): People watching Playing Scrabble on the Promenade, in the Centrum, or in the Solarium Playing cards as above Watching various game shows around the ship Watching Karaoke Reading in the Solarium Reading outside on deck Watching the ocean go by Napping Meeting people and talking…sometimes for hours Eating and trying things we’d never have at home Wandering around ports areas by ourselves (rather than on an excursion) Playing ping pong Playing mini-golf Watching movies (on ships that have pool deck screen) Watching pool deck activities (ie. Belly Flop contest, etc) Silent Disco (Honestly, I never expected to enjoy this, but I do) Going up to the Viking Crown Lounge and watching….everything (On ships that have one) Watching sunrises and sunsets from up on deck Early morning coffee together Booking another cruise at NextCruise
    9 points
  41. After several hours in the room we all went down to a bar on the Promenade for a few more drinks and many more laughs! The founder and leader of the group took me aside to talk. We traded numbers and emails and he seriously told me that Las Vegas is a quick drive from us in Southern California and that they would love to shoot down and do the grand opening of our restaurant. And we chatted again about it as we were leaving the ship. Gracious guy!
    9 points
  42. Woohoo finally able to check in for our October cruise. It's been a long two years waiting to be able to cruise again. Also as a bonus New Zealand has dropped all Covid restrictions completely. (apart from aged and healthcare facilities). I'm finally getting excited.
    9 points
  43. Akureyri (Northern Iceland) We made our first stop in Iceland. I went on a tour set up by one of the people in our Facebook group. We ended up touring all the highlights of northern Iceland. What I figured out is Iceland is one big volcanic rock. There's not very many people on the entire country, 380,000. That is less people than an average American city. By the end of our tour we were like... I don't want to get off the bus it's just more lava rocks. Our last stop was neat. It was the crevice and the earth that separates the American plate with the European plate. This is what causes all the earthquakes and volcanoes; where the earth separates. Everybody else was standing at the end of the crevice to take their pictures, I decided I wanted to stand over the crevice with one foot on each side... it was only 30 or 40 foot down.
    9 points
  44. mike2608

    Passing of a Monarch

    Today is a very sad day for not just the people of Great Britian, but for all people around the world. Queen Elizabeth was a class act of a person, she served her country during WW2, reigned as queen in a very professional manner. She will be missed. To all the Brits that are cruising right now, my condolences.
    9 points
  45. Mike n Ky

    Cruise Mistakes

    Pretty much the biggest mistake most people make is over packing. We still bring more than we need but we don't have three large suitcases in our stateroom anymore. Getting tips is a great start to making fewer mistakes. Hope y'all have a great time!
    9 points
  46. So our youngest, Taylor, just rode off in the assault vehicle headed for the hilltop to strap herself to a frayed cable and risk bodily injury, or death, for the bargain price of $100. As the truck’s engine roared to life she dramatically said “If anything happens you can have my dog and my car.” Seriously? I have a dog. And her car is a Kia. That’s all you got kid? She came back
    9 points
  47. Good morning from Labadee! Breakfast on the balcony this morning.
    9 points
  48. Is it a wife GTY or do you get to choose your own wife ? Probably an important detail.
    9 points
  49. BrianB

    Least favorite ports?

    Whatever port on disembarkation day. Hate it.?
    9 points
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